Nutritious Home-Made Bone Broth
I remember the first time I learned about bone broth. My roommate had come home with a new Crock-Pot and bag of beef marrow bones and told me she was going to make bone broth. She had heard that it was incredibly nutritious and wanted to give it a try. Excited to experience the health benefits, she quickly put bones in the Crock-Pot with some water and let it simmer away for the day. We were both anxious to see what it would taste like. Unfortunately, it tasted pretty terribly. I still have a video of her trying to drink it from a mug with citrus nearby to balance the taste. I suggested we add an onion, a few carrots, and celery to the pot and let it simmer some more. We also added some salt and pepper. It tasted significantly better.
Since then, I was curious what bone broth was. I noticed that at the stores, it was incredibly expensive. A small carton (~2 cups) can easily cost $8. I thought that was crazy since you could buy all the bones + veggies for (typically) under $15 and have at least 12 cups of this healthy and amazing broth.
Bone broth is very similar to chicken/beef broth in my opinion. There are two key differences:
- Picking meat with lots of bones for their collagen/gelatin is important - leave the chicken breast behind for another dish.
- You want it to simmer away for at least 8+ hours to get all the nutrients. I've heard people simmer it for up to 24 hours!
Once the broth has cooled, it will be more gelatinous than regular broth. Jake loves having a cup of this most nights. We love using this as a base for other dishes. We're thinking of making Hot and Sour Soup with our bone broth next! So far, we've used it mostly for home-made risotto (sometimes we even add the marrow from the bones to make it extra yummy), enchilada sauce, and pozole verde de pollo.
If you simmer the broth for long enough (ours was simmered for 9 hours total) it will have almost a jello-like consistency when chilled in the refrigerator.
For this recipe, we decided to use a combination of bones. A few weeks ago we bought a whole chicken (it's often cheaper to buy a whole chicken and ask the butcher to cut it up into 8 pieces - don't forget to keep the chicken back) but only needed the chicken breasts. This left us with 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, and 2 wings to freeze for another meal (today's bone broth!). We also used a beef shank bone (with marrow) and 2 oxtail pieces. This is plenty of meat for a 8-quart soup pot. I decided to roast the meat before placing it in the soup for extra flavor, but you definitely don't have to.
If you don't have a crockpot, I recommend starting this on a morning when you'll be home throughout the day. Scroll below to see our homemade bone broth.
Step 1: Roast bones in 450º F for 20-30 minutes
This step is completely optional. You can also just put them directly in the pot with vegetables and the bone broth will still be delicious. I know some people love putting chicken feet in but I haven't tried it yet!
Step 2: Prepare vegetables
I often prepare the vegetables while the meat is roasting in the oven.
Step 3: Place everything in a large stock pot and fill with water
Step 4: Partially cover pot with lid and simmer for 8+ hours
For the first half hour, there will likely be foam on the top of the broth as it simmers. This is okay. Just skim it off.
After simmering for 4-6 hours, the vegetables and chicken would have given all of their flavor. I typically use tongs to strain out the vegetables and will shred the chicken meat in a separate bowl. If there are any large bones, I'll throw them back in the pot. I freeze the shredded chicken in a Souper Cubes™ tray to have for other meals (i.e. pozole verde de pollo or enchiladas).
After simmering for 8+ hours, your bone broth is ready to enjoy! If you'd like to simmer it for more than a day but don't have a crock pot, let the soup cool completely and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Cook it again tomorrow throughout the day.
Step 5: Enjoy your bone broth!
Jake likes to have his straight. I prefer a more traditional chicken noodle soup.
Step 6: Freeze leftovers to enjoy for later!
MICHELLE'S RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE BONE BROTH WITH OXTAIL
- 6 chicken pieces (we used: 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, 2 thighs)
- 1 beef shank bone with marrow
- 2 oxtail pieces
- 1 yellow onion, halved
- 5 garlic cloves, halved
- 4 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 6 stems parsley, whole
- 1 parsnip, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450º F and roast meat for 20-30 minutes (optional)
- Place all ingredients into a large pot
- Fill pot with water and bring to a low boil
- Skim foam from top of broth as needed (~30 minutes or so)
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Partially cover pot and reduce to a simmer for 4-6 hours. Remove vegetables and chicken from pot. Shred chicken and place in a separate to enjoy for later. Continue to let bone broth simmer (total cooking time should be 8+ hours).
- Remove bones from bone broth and strain using a fine mesh strainer. Enjoy your cup of nutritious bone broth!
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